Ballymore Novices Hurdle winner at the Cheltenham festival City Island is set to be unleashed over fences for the first time this season at Leopardstown over Christmas.
The Martin Brassil trained six year old has been highly touted by racing pundits this season to become a superb chaser off the back of what he did last season.
Last term City Island had five starts winning three of them, being disqualified from his debut run when he actually went on to win the contest and then on his last start could only finish sixth at Punchestown in the Champion Novice Hurdle.
He has Grade One winning experience and being the trainers leading light he has been extremely well looked after and patiently waited on throughout this season already to see which route he will take to the festival.
It now looks s if the trainer has made his mind up and the six year old has been pleasing enough at home when schooling to get started at Leopardstown before the turn of the year.
(Credit Racing Post) "His target will be a beginners' chase [over 2m1f] at Leopardstown on December 27," said Brassil.
City Island is still in some markets at the festival for the elite hurdle contests lie the Stayers and Champion Hurdle but Brassil has said that he is going chasing to start with.
He added: "There's no change in our plan to go chasing, we decided he was going over fences in May and we'll be sticking to that.
"He's had a couple of schools around different tracks and we've been happy with him.
"We've just been waiting for some nice ground. He's never run on heavy before and we wanted to find him ground with bottom to it."